Latest News
Homepage News and Media Latest News

Embracing Change: Transitioning to Junior High

26 Oct 2022

There are many new and exciting opportunities to look forward to when you start Junior High, from increased independence and laptops to clubs, activities, and events where you can try something you have never done before. However, it also means new teachers, new subjects and potentially a new set of friends. Transitioning from primary to junior high school is exciting for children and marks a new life phase. Children recognise it as part of growing up and know that their lives are about to change significantly. But, like any change, it can also bring uncertainty.   





To pupils

It can seem strange having been the oldest in primary school to being the youngest in junior high school. However, remember that everyone in your year will be feeling the same. 
Most Grade 6 pupils will manage the transition to junior high school successfully. However, there may be ups and downs. It is easy to slip from feeling happy and confident one minute to feeling nervous or anxious. Your parent or carer and teachers will help you as much as possible through the transition period with their careful and sensitive preparation. 




The Transition

Suppose the transitions make you worried or unsure. Please talk about it, ask someone for help and tell them how you feel. You can list the things you think are challenging and try breaking them down into the next step, the next decision, the following moments, and problems will feel easier to manage.  


Building new friendships and relationships 

You may not have the same friends in Junior High school as you do at the end of Upper Primary. Naturally, your friendship groups will change because you get to meet lots of new people whom you have never had the chance to meet before. It can be challenging to find your way around a new timetable, and in the first few weeks, at a new school, you might be worried about getting lost too. If you meet challenges, please ask teachers and other pupils, who will be happy to help.   


Here are some tips for pupils: 


  • Stay organised by using your timetable, school map and other resources. 

  • Get involved with classroom activities, especially those that are new to you. 

  • Look at all the activities the school has on offer and pick one(s) that feels right for you. 

  • Your homeroom teacher will be an essential person to you and the one who can help with any concerns you may have. If you are struggling with a classmate or have any situation you do not want to share, it’s easy to go to your homeroom teacher, whom you will see every day. 





To Parents

Junior High school is different for children as well as parents and carers. School staff recognise this and will offer thorough inductions for families, introducing them to pastoral care, academic systems and support the school provides. However, the most valuable thing you can do to support your child is to encourage them to explore their thoughts and to know that they can talk openly about their feelings, both positive and negative. Conversations can help pave the way to talking about your child’s emotions as they prepare for their new school. 


Help your child to build problem-solving 

It can sometimes feel like solving your child’s problems for them is the kindest thing to do. However, settling into Junior High school is about initiative and independence – let them find their way. 
Please help your child write all the things that worry them on separate bits of paper or sticky notes. Then, put the worries into piles titled ‘Things I can do something about and ‘Things I can’t do anything about. Then, focus on the things your child can do something about and help them to solve these problems. 


Set time aside to talk about the move 

Your child may be worried about starting a new school, learning new subjects, or more difficult schoolwork. They may also have concerns about friendships that may have changed. 
If you can create a space for your child to tell you if there are any problems early, it will make it much easier to continue those conversations. 
This does not have to be formal – it is probably better to keep it informal – just a place where you can have some space alone so they feel like they can open up and talk to you. 


Here are some tips for parents:


  • Do not let your worries become your child’s worries. 

  • Prepare your child for all the new and fun opportunities and encourage them to explore what is available. 

  • Increase the independence you give them over the summer holidays or even their months at primary school so that the jump to Junior High feels natural. 

  • Let them know that you are there for them and will help should they need you. 

  • Play by the school’s rules. While it may be frustrating for your child, these rules ensure they make the most of the learning opportunities available. 

The greatest strength for any child going through change is knowing they can fall back on their parents' and carers’ love and support. Providing stability and security, giving children the confidence to explore and test their new environment and seek new experiences. It means that transition can be an exciting and positive experience and that if there are any wobbles on the way, they can come to you for reassurance and help.